The human race is faced with a big challenge – the challenge to survive and adapt amidst the pressing concerns of climate change. It is projected that in the future the pressing concerns related to climate change will intensify. Climate change and global warming are frequently used interchangeably, however there is a distinction between these two terms. Global warming is the general increased in the temperature on the earth’s surface. Climate change is the outcome of this increased in temperature (Change, 2007). Individuals and organizations should be aware of this man-made phenomena and its effect to the civilization so that ways of dealing and adapting to its impacts will be established. The impacts of climate change on hurricanes remains unclear; however, increased sea levels and warmer ocean surface will likely strengthen their impacts.
Climate Change Today and in the Past
Scientists are aware of the reality that the global climate varies between warmer periods and cooler periods (Dryas, 2004). Notwithstanding these variations, the Earth provided life support for humans and animals. Due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s umbrella, climatologists noticed great changes in the ozone layer and in the climate on Earth (Change, 2007). During the twentieth century, temperature on Earth increased by 1.08 degrees Fahrenheit (Dryas, 2004). If this event persists, the global temperature will go beyond 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (Dryas, 2004).
Hurricanes are prone to several influences in climate change. Warmer temperatures in the ocean surface could strengthen the wind speeds of tropical storms, possibly bringing more havoc once they generate a landfall. Through the use of computer modeling, science experts estimate a two to eleven percent boost in wind speed with greater occurrences of the strongest storms. Rates of rainfall during the storm are projected to escalate by 20%.
It must be recalled that in the past years, two hurricanes created devastating impacts in the United States. Hurricane Sandy was considered the most fatal and destructive calamity that hit the United States of America in 2012 (Kunz et al, 2013, p. 625). In addition, Hurricane Sandy is also the second disaster that costs great spending for the restoration procedures. During the time Sandy hit Cuba, it was categorized as a Category 3 hurricane (Kunz et al, 2013, p. 626). It had the largest diameter hurricane and its winds spanned 1800 kilometers. Initially, the damage was assessed to have reached approximately $75 million USD (Kunz et al, 2013, p. 628). The disaster left the United States with 285 individuals declared dead (Kunz et al, 2013, p. 628).
The hurricane was first seen in the Western Caribbean Sea on October 22 and slowly strengthened. Six hours later, it started to develop into Tropical Storm Sandy moving northward to Greater Antilles and gradually increasing in intensity (Kunz et al, 2013, p. 629). On October 24, Sandy reached Jamaica and re-surfaced in the Caribbean Sea and increased its intensity thereby giving it Category 2 alert level (Kunz et al, 2013, p. 637). When it reached Cuba, it was yet a Category 3 hurricane that weakened to Category 1 moving to the Bahamas area.
With persistent climate change and global warming, there will be increase in sea level (c2es.org, 2014). As this happens, coastal storms such as hurricanes form. Coastal storms bring about great destructions. Worldwide, the average sea level is estimated to increase by one to four feet over the next one hundred years (c2es.org, 2014). This will further amplify storm surge. For instance, sea level increase intensified the effect of Hurricane Sandy.
The interrelation between frequency of hurricane and climate change is less direct (c2es.org, 2014). All over the world, the number of storms that develop each year tends to range between 70 storms to 110 tropical storms with approximately 40 to 60 of this overall number of storms reaching the strength of a hurricane (c2es.org, 2014). However, records show big changes in the intensity and number of storms with some models projecting absence of change in the hurricane frequency by 2100 while other records show an increasing hurricane frequency (c2es.org, 2014). It is vital to remember that alterations in intensity and frequency vary from one basin to another. For instance, in North Atlantic Basin, the average number of storms is approximately 11 annually with six of these storms developing into hurricanes (c2es.org, 2014). Recently, the average number of storms totaled 16 each year (c2es.org, 2014). This also includes the eight other hurricanes. This greater frequency is relative to the increase in the surface temperatures of the Atlantic sea surface which can be related to global warming. One analysis illustrates the strongest hurricanes increasing the past twenty or thirty years in the Indian Oceans and Atlantic Oceans. Other aspects in the Indian and Pacific Oceans demonstrate no significant trends. For the continental part of the United States, particularly in the Atlantic Basin, models project a 75% frequency increase of category 4 and category 5 hurricanes notwithstanding a potential decrease in the overall frequency of the storms (c2es.org, 2014).
Factors that Can Lead to a Change in Global Climate
Carbon dioxide is the most potent factor that triggers global warming (Change, 2007, p. 333). Carbon dioxide discharge in massive quantity is brought about by diverse human undertakings and activities relative to the developments in the industries. Carbon dioxide is also discharged in natural ways including respiration and volcanic eruption (Change, 2007, p. 333). Humans increased the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide significantly ever since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Other than carbon dioxide, methane contributes the increasing temperature on Earth (Change, 2007, p. 333). Agriculture is one activity that generates massive amount of methane discharges (Deb, 2012). Other derivatives of methane include landfills and wastes, ruminant digestion as well as manure management of livestock. Hence, people are partly to be blamed for the recent climate trends.
Climate change impacts photosynthesis or the capacity of plants to produce their own foods (Wolfe, 2006). Dust and soot cover the leaves thus leading to insufficient course of oxygen. As a result, this leads to deficiencies of components accountable for plants production of foods (Wolfe, 2006). Different countries are already developing ways to get the energy they need without having to burn fossil fuels. Alternative renewable fuel sources which do not produce as much as GHG as the present fossil fuel does are being used (Ajanovic, 2008, p. 4223). Alternative renewable energy sources like solar energy, geothermal energy, and wind energy are being developed and researched at by experts so we can harness them more (Ajanovic, 2008, p. 4224). Alternative fuels like those coming from microbial processes on plant biomass are being probed at by different researches.
The United States of America and Brazil are already trading biofuels to the rest of the world (Tilman et al, 2009, p. 270). Different transportation technologies are also being improved, like solar powered cars or water powered cars. Industries are also adapting environmental friend protocols on their processes. It is proven through science that those species that are able to adapt to environmental stresses more efficiently have more chance of survival. Applying this principle to the current issue on global warming and climate change, we can say that those people or groups of people who can adapt themselves more efficiently will be winners. Efficient adaptation in this sense does not pertain to change in the genetic makeup of an individual. Those countries that can shift to other trade products are more likely to become winners. For example, if a country can shift rapidly and effectively from being agricultural to technological, then it has a higher chance of survival.
How is science used to predict the future of climate change?
Over a century ago, scientists started making climate predictions through the application of basic physics. Slowly, these approaches have become further detailed. At present, science uses computer models to replicate the Earth’s climate system. Climate proxies including ice cores and tree rings are also used to offer information concerning the Earth’s climate in the past.
What can/should we do to address climate change?
Different countries are already developing ways to get the energy they need without having to burn fossil fuels. Alternative renewable fuel sources which do not produce as much as GHG as the present fossil fuel does are being used (McGettigan and Seavert, 2013). Alternative renewable energy sources like solar energy, geothermal energy, and wind energy are being developed and researched by experts in order to harness their uses (McGettigan and Seavert, 2013). Different transportation technologies are also being improved, like solar powered cars or water powered cars. Industries are also adapting environmental friend protocols on their processes. It is proven through science that those species that are able to adapt to environmental stresses more efficiently have more chance of survival.
In the article titled Climate Change Justice by Eric Posner and Cass Sunstein, the authors discuss the issues of economic, science, and justice. For many years, the United States has been the leading the greenhouse gas emissions. But this time around, China surpassed U.S. The two countries now make up 40% of the overall emissions however they refused to accept binding restrictions, merely due to a notion that the domestic costs of such restrictions would exceed the advantages (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007). The emissions of China and U.S. threaten to impose grave losses on other regions and countries, including Africa, India, and Europe. Hence, the authors contend that both countries are involved in tortuous acts that are vulnerable to climate change (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007). This appeared to have special impact as applied to what U.S. has been doing. Even though emissions have been slower, the country continues to be leading contributor of greenhouse gases. This article mainly focused on two arguments: (1) The world would benefit from reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; (2) Some countries would not benefit from the agreement of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007).
If the world settles for a carbon tax, this would have an effect on the U.S. because of its high per capita emissions (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007). If U.S. is not sensitive as other nations to grave losses and the damage to health and agriculture is low, then Africa and India will potentially lose more (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007). One suggested approach is distributive justice (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007). Being the richest country in the world, the United States along with its people would consider it preposterous to recommend that the country needs to obtain compensation for helping to answer the world’s problem as a whole. In light of this, rich nations are expected to contribute in solving the problem on climate change (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007). The question on why rich nations should provide financial subsidy to future poor people instead of those poor people at present has brought the topic on redistribution. The authors emphasized the fact that redistribution among rich nations is not the same as redistribution of wealth among people. People in other countries are likely to benefit from global warming because their agricultural production will also increase. On the other hand, poor individuals in rich nations may pay a big amount of bill for the emission reduction.
There is a census that if countries all over the world do not participate in an attempt to diminish greenhouse gas emissions, it must choose one of the two potential approaches. Emission tax is intended to capture the externalities related to climate change (David, 2005, 9. 214). A global tax carbon emission may be quite low and this also increases as technology also continues to advance. The authors recommend that the tax be made uniform. People of India, China, Russia, France, and the United States will have to pay the same tax. Another approach is the cap and trade in which nations might form a worldwide cap on aggregate emissions (David, 2005, 9. 214). This would require a judgment concerning the appropriate cap as well as the initial allocation of emission rights.
For the questions of effectiveness, efficiency, and justice, there is a need for broad involvement among nations. In the framework of ozone-depleting chemicals, the observation was different (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007). Unilateral action restricts the emissions of chemicals and this unilateral is inexpensive and promised to bring about significant gains in the reduction of cases of cataracts and skin cancer. It is simple to see that the United States would not be in the domestic interest of that country merely because the cost would be considerably high and the advantages are small. If global warming continues, India, Africa, and some countries in Europe will suffer the most. India is expected to encounter great losses in the aspect of agriculture and health. In India, there has been an estimated 3,600,000 years of life lost because of diseases related to climate and 769,000 lives lost due to malaria (Ponsner and Sunstein, 2007). In Africa, the primary problem encompasses health with a huge anticipated increase in diseases related to climate.
Climate change is one of the many factors that the world is confronted with at this day and age. Although people have taken steps to prevent occurrence or worsening of climate change, this is perceived to be a daunting task because billions of people are using materials or engaged in activities that cause deleterious impacts on the environment. On the other hand, the impacts of climate change on hurricanes created massive havocs in the lives of many people. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy were two of the apparent proofs of the impacts of climate change. Complete change in lifestyle and daily activities is the ultimate challenge to prevent worsening of climate change. Continued harming of the ozone layer will trigger occurrence of climate change thereby causing the development of massive hurricane destructions.
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